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SMFeb56RoamaboutPart1

SMFeb56RoamaboutPart1

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Published by: Jim on Apr 14, 2008
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09/26/2013

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Roamabout 
18 ft. Family Vacation Trailer 
By JOHN GARTNER
PART I
Although 18 ft. is considered themost practical vacation trailer sizefor the average family, plans forbuilding this trailer in 14 and 16 ft.lengths are included
Craft Print Project No. 238
family will not be much more than if you stayedat home. The plus feature of having a vacationtrailer is that even summer week ends can be-come short-trip,-fun-packed vacation days.You'll find real comfort in
Roamabout 
too, be-cause it provides sleeping, cooking and eating ac-ou'll save money in two ways by buildingyour own vacation trailer. First, because youcan build it yourself for one half the cost of a comparably built and equipped new factorytrailer. Second, because the two largest vacationexpenses, lodging and meals, for you and your
y
Two beds at rear of trailer provide sleepingaccomodations for three members of family.Dinette table and seats at front fold away tomake a bed for two other people.The original Roamabout as it appeared afterbeing road tested over 20,000 miles by Mr.and Mrs. Gartner and their three daughterson two transcontinental trips.
 
commodations for a family of five(Fig. 1), yet is small and light enoughto be towed by a modest family carthrough the mountain states. Re-peated checks in towing with
Chev-rolet 
station wagons (1950 to 1955 sixcylinder models with manual shift)show a mileage average of slightlyover 15 miles to the gallon of gaso-line. Fully equipped but without sup-plies, Roamabout has a certifiedweight of 2160 lbs. Actual weight onthe road with supplies (and we car-ried plenty) is about 3000 lbs. Dueto the step-down design and use of torsion-spring axle, it has an ex-tremely low center of gravity andtows remarkably well. This step gives6 ft. 2 in. of headroom in the work area and an overall height of 7 ft. 2in. which permits off-season storage in manyexisting garages. Tires can be deflated or removedfor winter storage in garages having 7 ft. highdoors.Although it is difficult to make an accurateestimate of the cost of building due to the vari-ances in prices of materials and parts, my actualcost was $900, but this included complete fabri-cation of the chassis at a local weld shop, six-ply truck-type tires, deluxe fittings, air-foamcushions, apartment-size oven stove, vinyl floorcovering, bird's-eye maple hardwood lining andother special equipment. I believe Roamabout canbe built for as little as $600 providing the builderdoes his own chassis welding and shops aroundfor materials. Cost of building the 14 or 16 ft.models will be a little less, but not as much asone might think, since the same axle assembly,hitch-jack and interior equipment would be re-quired. Floor plans for all three models are shownin Fig. 13.Home trailer construction has been simplifiedin, recent years by the availability through trailersupply houses of the same parts and equipmentused by trailer manufacturers. Before beginningconstruction, it is extremely important that allmaterials and parts be on hand so that each partcan be fitted in its place as the trailer is assem-bled.Make the chassis frame (Fig. 2) first. The dis-tance from the underside of the hitch to theground should be approximately 18 in. If youintend to make the 14 or 16-ft. model, shortenthe length of the 3-in. channels to the front andrear of the axle as noted in Fig. 3, but use thesame number of angle-iron cross pieces.If you are not an experienced arc welder, havethe frame made up at your local weld shop.If you do the welding yourself, cut and fit all of the channel and angle iron first, then assemblewith C-clamps and tack welds before runningany continuous welds around joints. By follow-
FEBRUARY, 1956
129
Completed chassis frame
.
Torsion spring-type trailer axle and com-bination trailer jack and hitch are purchased parts.

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